Theta Upgrades Preamp/Power Combo

Flexibility is the name of the game as Theta Digital plays it. The innovative Agoura Hills, CA company has announced the Casablanca II, a modular upgradable preamp/processor for music and cinema applications, as well as two-channel modules for its Dreadnaught power amplifier.

Improvements on the original Casablanca include circuitry for Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES Matrix soundtracks, 24/96 DACs on nine channels, and up to 12-channel output (including up to five subwoofer outputs). The original Casablanca featured nine channels. Theta also says that the unit will soon accomodate up to 12 channels with the 24/96 DACs. Further refinements include "greater crossover-parameter flexibility to tailor the preamp's output to a particular room and the speakers used," according to a company announcement November 13. "Circle Surround," a technique for extracting a 5.1- or 7.1-channel soundfield from two-channel or Dolby Pro Logic sources, is one of the upgrade options. The Casablanca II Music and Cinema controller sells for $6000 to $17,000 depending on configuration.

Theta is beefing up the capabilities of its Dreadnaught amplifier by offering two-channel modules to complement the existing one-channel modules. The amp as originally designed had five channels each capable of 200 watts into 8 ohms. The two-channel modules will expand the Dreadnaught to as many as ten channels of 100 watts each. Single-channel and two-channel modules can be mixed as needed. Configured as a five-channel amplifier, the Dreadnaught retails for approximately $6000; as a ten-channel amp it will sell for about $7000.

Theta has also announced a more affordable amplifier, the $3500 Intrepid, capable of 5 x 100 watts into 8 ohms.